A New Beginning Amy Blaine

Sometimes a change of surroundings is what’s needed to make everything else fall into place. Two women share how settling into a new environment gave them a much-needed fresh start

‘Now I’m comfortable with who, and where, I am’ A rchitectural design manager Amy Blaine, 42, lives with her partner Brett Krause, 53, in Stellenbosch. A few years ago, my life was very diferent. I was living in Pretoria, where I’d grown up, my parents were nearby, and I moved in the same social circles I had for years. Life was good, yet I felt like I needed to break out of my comfort zone. I dreamt of moving somewhere new and doing something diferent… I’d always been drawn to Cape Town – there’s something about the sea, mountain and nature that just feels like ‘home’ to me – but it seemed far too drastic a life change, and was certainly further out of my comfort zone than I was ready to go. Then in 2015 I found myself at an all-time low: I’d been single for four years and didn’t hold much hope for meeting someone new in my existing circle of friends. I was stuck in a job that made me feel frustrated and worthless, and I felt my life was a mess. My self-esteem hit rock bottom, and it negatively afected my relationships with close friends and family. At the age of 38, things hadn’t worked out how they ‘should have’, and I felt judged for my life choices. I was emotionally drained, stuck in a rut, and eventually diagnosed with depression.

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THE TURNING POINT

During this time, I had a long phone conversation with my good friend Chris, who suggested I see a life coach. At first I was sceptical, but I had nothing to lose so I searched for a coach online. There were so many to choose from but to my surprise, I instantly felt connected to Nelene Flemming’s profile, even though I’d never met her. She seemed warm and relatable, and I just knew she’d help me. After my first meeting with her, I signed up for 12 two-hour sessions over six weeks. It was partly out of desperation, but also because she was so encouraging. Each meeting helped peel away a painful layer of past hurt, current self-doubt, and overwhelming sadness. For the first time I became fully aware of my emotions, as well as how powerful my subconscious is. Most importantly, Nelene gave me the tools to deal with my feelings of rejection, anger and fear. Halfway through the six weeks, my family and even my co-workers started commenting about the changes in my attitude: I was less moody, had more self-confidence, and was a lot more positive in my outlook. Soon after my coaching sessions ended in December 2015, I packed my car and set of on a 19-day ‘self-healing’ solo road-trip that took me through six provinces. I needed to be alone with my thoughts, and the open road ofered just that. At the end of the trip I felt emotionally stronger and more positive about tackling 2016. And that’s when I made the decision to apply for a job in Cape Town – something I wouldn’t have considered a few months before. I knew that if I wanted things to change, I had to make it happen. When I got the call that I’d landed the job, I accepted without a moment’s hesitation. Within two months of that phone call, I’d packed up my life in Pretoria and was heading to the Mother City, feeling more excited than anxious.

NEW BEGINNINGS

I was sad to leave my family and social circle, but I knew that new beginnings were waiting for me in the Cape – the move ofered me a chance to start over. I began my new job in April 2016 and fitted into the culture immediately. I’ve been living in Stellenbosch for a little over two years and I love the vibrant mix of people who call the Cape home. I’ve also changed in ways I never expected; I’ve opened up more and I often approach people who share my enthusiasm for life. In my free time, I explore unusual restaurants, enjoy good wine with new-found friends, and take photos of what I’m passionate about, like nature and architecture. I also stopped dyeing my hair and I embraced my greying locks, a sign, I think, that I finally felt comfortable with who, and where, I was. I felt more like myself than I had in ages. During this process of self-discovery, I met my partner, Brett, online. He has now become my tour guide and best friend. I took a big risk and it has paid of; I couldn’t be happier. But I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t pushed myself outside of my comfort zone – it made me realise how fearless I can be.

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